July 18, 2016
Many American’s are aware, and should be concerned, that President Vladimir Putin recently placed severe restrictions on religious freedoms in Russia making any evangelism or religious speech outside of churches forbidden. Any Christian wishing to share their faith outside of a designated worship center will be breaking the law.
This so-called anti-terrorism legislation not only attacks religious liberty, it demolishes free-speak and makes it a crime. “This new situation,” according to Dr. Haukka, President of Great Commission Media Ministries, “resembles the Soviet Union in 1929. At that time confession of faith was permitted only in church. Practically speaking, we are back in the same situation. These anti-terrorist laws are some of the most restrictive laws in post-Soviet history.”
Suppressing the rights of assembly, speech and the press, to name a few, seem routine in Moscow but many believe this has gone too far. This new legislation strikes fear among Christian Russians believing that unregistered congregations and house groups will be targeted and persecuted, according to Christian Today.
“According to Forum 18, which monitors religious freedom in Russia and former Soviet republics, the amendments to the Religion Law restrict those who can share beliefs to people with permission from members of state-registered religious groups and organizations…They also prohibit even the informal sharing of beliefs, for example responding to questions or comments.”
Any breach of this new law, effective July 20, will lead to substantial monetary penalties.
U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) wrote an article at The Daily Signal stating the new law is “an affront to free people everywhere.”
“We need to begin telling the truth about an increasingly aggressive actor in global affairs,” he said. “This Russian law would be an affront to free people everywhere—at home and abroad—who believe that rights of conscience—the rights to free speech and to freedom of religion—are pre-political.”
As of yet “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
—U.S. Constitution, First Amendment
Suppressing speech and the media, not to mention Political Correctness, seems to be the growing trend in America. Should American’s have reason for concern that this “anti-terrorist” law someday be our reality?